Today, on July 12, 2022, SpaceX has scheduled a test of their new generation booster rocket in Boca Chica, Texas. The test did take place, but the result was less than satisfactory: while still on the ground, the Starship aircraft exploded. It didn't even reach the launch stage as it caught on fire during the ground test.
The failed test was recorded by NASA and broadcasted on their Spaceflight website. They also posted the video of the explosion on Twitter.
What Does It Mean and What Happened After?
Once it became obvious the booster rocket test didn't succeed, Elon Musk tweeted:
Yeah, actually not good. Team is assessing damage - 7:37 PM · Jul 11, 2022
He also shared the possible reason behind this incident: boosting all 33 engines at the same time.
"That is one of the things we will be doing going forward. This particular issue, however, was specific to the engine spin start test (Raptor has a complex start sequence). Going forward, we won’t do a spin start test with all 33 engines at once - 12:29 AM - Jul 12, 2022.
Since it happened so recently, no additional information has been released. SpaceX also indicated there have been no injures.
The booster in question was the prototype of the Super Heavy booster. Its role would be to give the aircraft an extra lift, which would allow to get the Starship to orbit and further. This is instrumental in Musk's plan to make travel space possible and affordable for humans.
The Federal Aviation Administration has taken a long time to review and approve this test. The approval has been granted the month earlier, which finally allowed this test to move forward. This is quite a stepback for SpaceX.
By the end of the day, if you think about it, nothing horrible happened. No one got hurt, according to the reports, and this is precisely why SpaceX runs these tests: to pinpoint the issues and fix the mistakes which may arise.
This isn't the first or the last failed launch SpaceX experienced. There were plenty others, and there will be more. When you're working on something unique such as space travel, you cannot expect everything to run smoothly.